Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Disney World

Last week we had our family vacation to Disney World. And boy oh boy, does Disney know how to do a family vacation! Disney does not disappoint, in fact they far exceeded our expectations on every level. It’s been close to 22 years since I was there last and a whole lot has changed in two decades. It was nice to have such a large break between visits because between my husband and son who’ve never been before, we were in awe over every little detail of our vacation. Not only that, we didn’t really do a whole lot of research before our trip. We had a travel agent book everything (including dining) and my recently retired parents did a lot of planning as well. So every little experience was exciting and new for us - a true vacation without spoilers. 

Probably one of the most awe inspiring sights were the night time shows. Fantastmic! at Hollywood Studios features sorcerer Mickey battling the Disney villains and uses projectors on water and smoke to create amazing effects.

There is also the traditional Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom which I completely adored.

Afterward was the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular over the castle featuring animated projections on the castle along with a fireworks display. Seriously, my mind was blown.

We stayed in the Animal Kingdom at Kidani Village which was a wonderful stay featuring our balcony which ran the length of the suite so every morning Owen could go out and look at animals which included giraffes and zebras.

Our suite was really great, it even had 3 bathrooms so we could get up and out the door first thing in the mornings.

The other thing we really enjoyed at this resort was the splash pad and pool.

Owen first conquered the kiddie slide and eventually made his way to the big twisty water slide. He was so super proud of himself.

We took advantage of a park hopper style pass which allowed us to bus between all Disney parks at our leisure during the week. And, yes, it takes a week to take in Disney. It was just enough time to see and do everything we wanted and go home completely exhausted and with aching feet to boot.

We used a Disney app to know when performances and parades were happening, a super useful tool when organizing your day. One parade we really enjoyed (which happens quite frequently) is the Move It Shake It Parade at the Magic Kingdom.
Owen had a great spot and Mickey & Minnie Mouse stopped right in front of him.

The characters get off the floats and dance with everyone in the crowd which was super fun. I have this thing about dancing pregnant – went to a wedding a couple weeks ago and just couldn’t bring myself to shake my bump, silly, I know. But I got up and got into the groove with Owen – and Nuno has footage of it all, which I won’t be sharing on this blog!

Here we are at all four of the major parks.

Owen is at a great age for Disney and I’m glad we didn’t try to take him any time before this. Naturally, he was totally into the vacation but luckily he was also totally agreeable about every ride we took him on (and we took him on tons). I have a certain nostalgia for the rides I rode on as a kid at the Magic Kingdom, so we enjoyed It’s a Small World, The Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Country Bears Jamboree and my absolute favourite ride of all time – The Haunted Mansion. The traditional rides are fun but the 3D experiences are unbelievably creative. Our two favourite were “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” at the Animal Kingdom and “The Muppets” at Hollywood Studios.

One of the coolest little details at Epcot which suited our family completely was the resurrected Captain Eo 3D show, featuring Michael Jackson in his heyday. Owen got so into it, he came out of the theatre dancing and striking poses.

Of course, we had lots of character meet-ups and visiting in September had its perk of manageable wait times. I don’t think we waited any longer than 15 minutes to meet a character.

There was also Downtown Disney, which is open to the public and is the ultimate Disney shopping experience. Oh, the shopping at Disney – you’d really have to see it to believe it. We didn’t buy much, but you are in trouble if you’re a huge Disney fan. We only visited for a dinner reservation but for us, the highlight of Downtown Disney was the Lego store and their amazing Lego creations. Owen’s favourite toy is building with Duplo, so this was totally up his alley.

I know in my late teens and early 20’s I felt ‘over’ the whole Disney thing. This vacation was my 5th visit and now going as a parent and seeing the joy and happiness on Owen’s face during the week was totally priceless. Just to give you an idea, here’s a thrilled Owen meeting his favourites – Chip and Dale!

This past week pretty much blows every previous family vacation we’ve taken completely out of the water. My next entry will be exclusively about eating at Disney.

No comments: